Shanghai, China: Defending champion Hideki Matsuyama and 2013 winner Dustin Johnson have confirmed their participation in next month’s WGC-HSBC Champions.
Since Matsuyama’s triumph at ‘Asia’s Major’ last October when he became the first Japanese player to win a World Golf Championship, he has gone from strength to strength, winning four times, including the PGA Tour’s Waste Management Phoenix Open. Last month, he won the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.
He reached a career high ranking of number two in June and is currently lying in third place on the Official World Golf Ranking.
In Shanghai last year, Matsuyama won by seven shots from Henrik Stenson and Daniel Berger. His rounds of 66, 65, 68 and 66 took in as many as 29 birdies, and he is relishing a return to Sheshan International Golf Club from October 26-29.
Matsuyama said: “Sheshan has some very special memories for me. It was a great honour to become the first Japanese winner of a World Golf Championships and to do it against such a world-class field was very special. I believe the confidence I gained with such a big victory there has really helped me with my performances this year.”
At the top of the world rankings, Johnson became the only man to have completed the WGC-Slam when he won both the WGC-Mexico Championship and the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play this year.
Johnson, who suffered a back injury following a fall on the eve of this year’s Masters, returned to the winning circle at the PGA’s Northern Trust tournament. He said: “It is great that Hideki and I hold all the 2017 WGC titles between us, so we will both be gunning to win the final WGC of the year. I really look forward to returning to Shanghai. It always helps to be returning to a course where you have won before. The Chinese fans are awesome and bring a real energy and enthusiasm that always makes it really fun to play there.”
Giles Morgan, HSBC Global Head of Sponsorship and Events, added: “WGC-HSBC Champions is our flagship event in global golf and an early announcement of two of the world’s best players is hugely exciting. Quality of field is the calling card for this tournament which has earned the reputation of ‘Asia’s Major’ and for the past three years we have attracted 40 of the world’s top 50 golfers.
“Following recent heroics China’s leading players are truly coming of age at just the right time. This event means so much to them. It is their Major. It first inspired them into the game then nurtured their skills. Now it gives this new generation a chance to unleash their talents against the world’s best. All in front of their home fans. It’s a mouth-watering prospect.”
The tournament is promoted by IMG, an Executive Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
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